In wake of the Minnesota State High School League using bylaws to stop Waseca High School hockey teams from wearing uniforms that honor a police officer shot in the line of duty, Senator John Jasinski (R-Faribault) is calling on the league to show compassion.
"Let me give you some friendly advice," begins Jasinski. "Reverse course and allow the Waseca High School Boys Hockey team to use their jerseys made in honor of Officer Arik Matson. There is a time for following rules and guidelines, but this is a time for compassion."
The MSHSL issued a statement Friday saying it has been working with Waseca administrators in "identifying ways in which appropriate recognition can be demonstrated."
The uniforms were donated to the varsity boys' team by Gemini Athletic, which, according to the MSHSL, don't follow the National Federation of High Schools uniform rules and policies.
Those policies put limits on the "size of alterations to commemorate individuals or events within competition," the MSHSL said.
Jasinski argues that the policy is blocking a good thing from happening.
"This tragedy has brought our community together in the typical Minnesota way. A local business stepped up and donated these unique commemorative jerseys, and the student-athletes are proud to honor this local hero during their upcoming games," he said.
"The community needs this. The state is rallying behind them. Do the right thing and make an exception for this special circumstance."
Waseca coach Chris Storey told the Star Tribune that they'd like to wear the uniforms during games, but if they're not allowed to do so they'll still wear them during warmups in a continued show of support for Matson and Waseca Police Department.
Matson, 32, remains hospitalized after being shot in the head while responding to a report of a suspicious person on Jan. 6.